What are the odds of Imelda Marcos hearing for herself a testimony of a Martial Law victim in front of hundreds of other people?
At 10:45 am of February 24, 2016, the eve of the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising, a mass was held and dedicated to the memory of Martial Law victims at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist Church) in Baclaran. The mass was part of the series of gatherings of the Campaign Against the Return of Marcos in Malacanang (CARMMA), a coalition of organizations of Martial Law survivors and families of victims and anti-dictatorship advocates that vowed to campaign against Senator Bongbong Marcos’ vice-presidential bid.
Sitting among mass goers was Bongbong’s mother, Imelda Marcos, the other half of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
As part of the homily, Danny Lagdaan of the group of political prisoners SELDA recounted his capture by the Metrocom and the subsequent physical and emotional torment he suffered while in jail. He was left deaf in one ear for the rest of his life due to the blows he received while being interrogated by the military.
Mrs. Marcos left after the communion.
The Ilocos Norte representative has been reportedly attending mass and visiting the Redemptorist church in Baclaran for three consecutive Wednesdays or since the national elections campaign period started.
Known among the Redemptorist missionaries is Mrs. Marcos declaration in the media to not attend mass in the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran after she accused a priest for supposedly refusing her communion. This supposedly happened in the mid-1990s.
A Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rudy Romano, was a desaparecido during the elder Marcos’ reign. Fr. Rudy was known as a defender of the poor, displaced settlers, landless peasants and exploited workers and a vocal opponent of Martial Law. He was abducted by alleged military elements on July 11, 1985. His body has yet to be recovered more than 30 years after his enforced disappearance. Many hopes he still lives and he is remembered annually in the marker built where he was abducted, among his congregation brothers and other Martial Law victims.
The Marcoses have yet to apologize and acknowledge human rights abuses during Martial Law.